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5 Things to Know About Jets 1st-Round Draft Choice Olu Fashanu

Young Tackle Values Community, Is Ready to Learn from 'Old Pros' Tyron Smith, Morgan Moses & Aaron Rodgers

Olumuyiwa Fashanu is selected by the New York Jets during the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 25, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Alika Jenner/NFL)

Olu Fashanu hung up some pretty decent accomplishments, as obscure as they might be to many fans, in his four seasons at Penn State and his final two as the Nittany Lions' left tackle starter.

Now Fashanu, coming off his strong senior season, gets to continue to learn and grow while playing on the Jets' offensive line as their 11th overall selection of Thursday's opening night of the NFL Draft.

Here are five interesting notes we found in researching Fashanu's doings on and off the football field.

His Name and His Motto
Fashanu's full first name is Olumuyiwa but he prefers Olu. And his last name is pronounced FASH-uh-new, "fash" as in "mash," which is what the Jets would like him to do more often than not to opposing D-linemen and edge rushers. His Penn State career started slowly but picked up steam each year, no doubt as he was applying the lessons he learned while growing up with his father, Anthony, and his mother, Paige, at home in Maryland.

Anthony told before the draft that Olu played basketball "all of his life" until he entered the pigskin world in high school. "When he started playing football," Anthony said, "I sat him down and I told him something, which also became his motto: Anything worth doing is worth doing well."

Building to a College Crescendo
Olu put that mantra to work for him. He was a four-star prospect according to through his senior season at Gonzaga College HS in Washington, DC, in 2019, and committed to Penn State before his senior year over other Power Five schools such as Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State.

He bult his career in Happy Valley one game and one season at a time. He didn't play as a true freshman, made one start as a sophomore — in the 2022 New Year's Day Outback Bowl. In the '22 season he made eight starts at LT before sustaining a season-ending injury. Finally, he began his senior season with a great omen when he was named a team captain at the end of spring practice. He started 12 games, allowed no sacks in 382 pass-blocking snaps, and crowned his final season of college ball with first-team All-American and Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year honors.

Touchstones: Community...
Fashanu, who doesn't turn 22 until December, has a strong community instinct, which was enhanced at Gonzaga College High, the only Jesuit high school in Washington. Gonzaga's stated aims include blending "education with conscience to help prepare young men for college success and for lives of integrity, purpose and service to others."

One of the purposeful pursuits he took while at Penn State was to become a daily volunteer at a homeless shelter near the university.

...And Did We Mention Education?
Learning, whether on or off the field, is also very important to Olu. He earned a berth on the William V. Campbell Trophy watchlist last preseason, then at midseason was named a finalist for the Campbell award, a.k.a. "the Academic Heisman."

Schooling was and is so important to Fashanu that he declined the option to enter the 2023 NFL Draft as possibly a top-10 selection so that he could remain in college for that senior season. As he told Jets media Thursday night:

"I was just looking at how our roster was shaping up before the start of the season, in my opinion the best team I had in my four years at Penn State. I felt coming back was really the best opportunity I had of winning big at Penn State, get to a Big Ten championship and hopefully a playoff spot. And also, I was just a semester away from graduating, so those two factors made coming back a lot easier."

He earned his degree from the Smeal College of Business in supply chain and information systems.

Quarterbacks He's Protected
Can it be a coincidence that Olu has wound up with outstanding quarterbacks and they with him? While at Gonzaga College HS for the 2018 and '19 seasons, Fashanu was the left tackle protecting Caleb Williams, Yes, Thursday's first overall pick of the NFL Draft by the Bears.

And this week Fashanu has begun a collaboration of unknown length not only with two veteran tackles he studied in high school in Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses but also with another QB who's already attained greatness in Aaron Rodgers.

When Fashanu first pondered the possibility of protecting ARod's blindside during his predraft visit with the Jets, he saw it as "a dream." Then Thursday night he confirmed that initial thought about working with the future Pro Football Hall of Famer.

"Yeah," he said, "it's awesome."

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